CGI scores $46 million for Ontario

The organization tasked with creating an electronic health records system for all Ontario residents is dishing out $46.2 million to IT services giant CGI Group Inc. to build out a provincial diabetes registry.


The six-year contract, which was announced by eHealth Ontario and CGI on Monday, is expected to lead to an interactive and real-time Web portal to help physicians manage their patients’ diabetes treatment. The system will initially be focused on diabetes, but both organizations plan to expand the registry to cover other chronic diseases in the future. Read IT World Canada blogger Aaron Blair’s take on the deal

Using the system, health care providers will be able to manage patients with diabetes by securely receiving data from lab test results and OHIP claims as well as generating reminders, alerts and reports.


Hitesh Seth, vice-president of consulting services at CGI, said the project is scheduled to go through “three distinct stages.” The first stage will cover “configuration and integration” with eHealth Ontario’s back-end legacy systems; the second will involve deployment of the system to 12 pilot sites; and the final phase will be the ongoing operation of the solution.


He expects the first two stages to be completed in roughly 15 months.


Also as part of the deal, CGI will manage and host the registry in its data centres instead of Ontario’s two existing facilities.


Newly appointed eHealth Ontario CEO Greg Reed said the organization’s existing data centres are quickly filling up, which made the idea of running secure apps in CGI’s environment for a few years extremely attractive.


As the organization builds out more chronic disease management systems, Reed said, it will put all of its systems together in an eHealth Ontario data centre to maintain centralized control.


Taking over for a revolving door of temporary leaders, the former Dundee Bank of Canada CEO and long-time consultant was appointed as eHealth Ontario’s new CEO in April. It was the organization’s first official leader since former chief executive Sarah Kramer left embroiled in a spending scandal last summer.


Upon taking office, Reed promised to improve eHealth Ontario’s reputation and rapport with the general public, medical community and IT partners. He said the diabetes registry is the logical starting point for a chronic disease management system, as the number of Ontarians with diabetes has doubled over the last 10 years.


“Once we have this one in place we will be able to leverage the infrastructure and experience of doing it for other diseases,” he said.


In its announcement, eHealth Ontario stressed that the selection of CGI was a result of a “rigorous evaluation process” that began in early 2009 and was overseen by third-party fairness monitor Knowles Consultancy Services Inc.


“The process was tight enough that while I knew we were close to selecting (a vendor), only very recently did I know that it was (CGI),” Reed said.


The organization added that CGI will begin to receive payments following the “substantial completion” of the registry.

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